Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

Monday, November 26, 2007

don't talk back!

Mostly to catch up on spinning and knitting that I didn't cover in the drunken post from last night. Yes, spinning, a small justified amount.

In order to do the cuff for my mother's christmas stocking, I needed to card and spin some of the white alpaca that I washed earlier. I did up about 100 yards, and it should be more than enough.


I spun it fine and chain-plied it. The result is a yarn that is somewhat finer than the yarn for the body of the stocking, but it will look nice. Three simple cables on the cuff, which will be folded over on the top of the stocking. The lining is actually a poofy satin holiday stocking that I got at Joanne Fabrics with the decorative elements cut off. It makes the stocking look nice and full even when it isn't.


here's some shots I took outside before the stocking was done, but it shows the stitch pattern a bit more. A simple checkerboard pattern of seed stitch and stockinette.



I think it'll be quite nice.

To reward myself, and since I had the wheel out anyway, I carded and spun some of the yak fiber from Copper Moose.


The raw fiber is incredibly soft. It needs very little carding to spin well.


It has minimal VM, and the guard hairs are so soft I'm only picking them out if they stick out. It's spinning up nice and fine.


And wow, is it ever soft. I can't wait to get a skein finished so I can knit a swatch.

Tonight's Monday Night Football with the Steelers. Go Steelers! I made a yummy dinner, smothered pork chops with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, and broccoli. Cold-weather food, fitting, since it's been raining all day.

I should also mention that my darling husband has started a blog. He's at the top of the sidebar over there-check it out if you get a chance. He's a pretty funny dude, and a very good writer.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

get no kick from champagne

...but sambuca, now that's some nice stuff.

I'm a little drunk just now. Not sure if it's a good idea to blog or not but the cruel light of day will tell the tale, fer shure. Let me try to explain my intoxicated state of mind. I'll start off by noting that I had a busy and productive weekend planned, involving things like "getting all the laundry done", and "cleaning the carpet under the piano". Hah.

Friday, the drain in the basement was a little slow. And by "a little slow", I mean backing up into the basement. So we called the friendly friends from Roto Rooter. They were here within the hour, around 11 AM.

It's late in the Fall here in southwestern Pennsylvania. So, by 4:30 PM, dark was arriving and our designated Rooter still hadn't resolved the clog, despite bringing in cameras, technology, the Most Expensive Machine, as well as the Machine that goes *ping*.

The Administrator, I mean, the supervisor was called to bring us the grim news. Our Rooter was unable to clear the clog. He'd send new Rooters in the morning, but that was an act of mere desperation, plumber's voodoo, as it were. Chances are, disaster had fallen and we were destined to spend thousands of dollars on getting the sewer dug up and a new line laid. The sewer line, you see, crosses the vacant lot next to our property, and goes under where our neighbor, a very nice man, has just completed a Sisyphean task of building a new driveway, much omnistone walling, and what looks like a gun turret. This has been his windmill at which much tilting has passed lo unto this past year. It will displease him greatly if his wall has to be dug up.

Morning dawned and laundry was loaded into the car. If nothing else was getting done, that effing laundry was. My darling husband called me several times with updates. The gist of it was that the clog was unclogged, but the situation with the drain under the neighbor's wall remained uncertain. It will have to be dug up, sooner rather than later, but for now all is well. Until we can come up with SEVENTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.

So with clean laundry and groceries in tow, my daughter and I returned to the house with joy and knitting and uncertainty in most things, except this. No more shall tampons be discarded into the toilet.

So, we had thanksgiving at my mom's house. Here's some photos.

My mom's been getting a bit carried away with the birds lately.


Buddy's been in her house a while. He's no more social than he was, but he does whistle more things now.

This is her Conure, Falco.

Falco talks, and will dance if you sing to her. A real character. She also has two doves, a peach-faced lovebird, and a parakeet.

The girls had a good time.

There were also dogs.

Back to Friday, there was a scary sky that should have boded unwell for the plumbing prognosis.


If that doesn't look pestilent, I don't know what does.

And this has gotten a lot farther now but it's my mom's xmas stocking.


It's a seed stitch/stockinette checkerboard pattern. I found a nice silver stocking to use as a liner, and I'm going to do a fancy cuff from white alpaca in a cable pattern. It should be rustic and lovely.

More when I'm making more sense.

Monday, November 19, 2007

you blow through here, the music goes round and round

I know this is a little unprecedented, two updates in less than a week. Add to that the fact that I am working today, Monday, and am writing this entry while at work and you get a whole new level of blogging dedication. I’m normally off on Mondays because I work a four-day, ten-hours-a-day schedule. So today, I’m at work and am using a blank e-mail to write a blog entry because we can’t access blogspot from here. Makes perfect sense to me.

We took the dogs to Heritage Park in Monroeville yesterday.


The weather was grey and cloudy and just the last few trees were hanging on to their leaves. It was nice, though, because the park was coated in fallen leaves which were pleasantly crunchy and have that great autumn smell to them. I was telling Bob that I like this part of the fall because while there aren’t a lot of trees with color, the ones that ARE there are usually pretty spectacular. I took the camera, and took pictures.

still life with picnic table

That’s one of my favorite pictures. You can almost hear the leaves rustling.

The dogs made some new friends there, one was just a blur.

the amazing brindle blur

It was actually a very friendly Pit or Pit mix, brindle, fairly young. Nice dog. Some other folks came with a young yellow Labrador and they were really overprotective and afraid of the Pit, quite needlessly. I felt bad but what are you going to do. Dylan and Lily completely wore themselves out running and chasing and trying to herd these bigger dogs and it was hilarious. They had a very good time.

dogs sniffin

I took a lot of photos, but most of them didn’t come out too well because I didn’t want to use the flash, and dogs being dogs, well, they move. Some were pretty good though.

dylan in and out of focus

I’ll be glad when I get this camera all figured out. It’s annoying not being able to make it do exactly what I want it to do.

bob n dogs

Corgis do blend in with leaves. When blurry, they blend in even better.


Lily got her little bandana from Petco, where we stopped to get cat litter and her food supplement, and a new collar for Dylan.

dogs blend in

She’s so dainty. And so hairy. I was pulling clumps of undercoat off of her every time she came over to me. She needs a good brushing, and soon. Dylan just doesn’t shed like Lily does, his undercoat is much less, which adds to my wondering if he isn’t part Cardigan corgi.

lily too fast

lily and bench

More leaves… lots of vibrant reds and yellows.

red trees

yellow tree


I enjoyed the contrast between the bark, the leaves, and the moss here.

moss and leaves


These trees were growing together in an interesting way.

trees twined 3

This poor tree had grown over a tie-out.

tortured tree

We found some interesting bark here and there.




And here’s Bob with flash…


…and without.

bob in the park

One tree had this nice looking lichen on it.

lichen 2

There were also berries. I don’t know what kind. Possibly snozzberries.


All in all, it was a very pastoral and calm afternoon. It’s a nice park with a nice off-leash area so we will definitely be going back.

tree color

Then the Steelers game happened, which was very un-nice and very disturbing. Playing a severely substandard team, they lost. But I cooked an excellent pot roast with a beer broth, which was both hearty and delicious, and I did manage to finish the Parasol socks.


They used exactly a half a skein of Opal Mosaik sock yarn. You still can’t see the lace pattern. Oh well. She’ll like them, I’ve been assured.

The weekend was pleasant overall, what with the new yarn store, the trip to Trader Joe’s where I found both reasonably priced clementines and fresh, California grown plums (in November???), a nice quart of excellent broth in the freezer for future beefy vegetable noodle soup, good karaoke date with Bob, some great conversation, and fresh air.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

the money's gone, nowhere to go

It's been an interesting week. Work is work. Not that I expect it to be anything different. Home is home, and comforting as always. My rudimentary exercise program is more difficult than I expected. I'm very skilled at talking myself out of things.

I'm proud to say I'm now a member of the Pittsburgh Women's Blogging Society. Whee!

Knitting goes well. The Pinwheel sweater continues to languish, incomplete, whilst I knit socks. I think the socks will all get finished, though.

Here's my mother-in-law's Parasol socks. It is a bit aggravating that you can't see the lace pattern, but trust me, it's there. When the socks are ON, it's very apparent. She has very small feet, so I'm guessing as best I can. I come from the land of the large-footed, so small feetedness is quite alien to me. My husband has small feet too, for a man. He wears a men's 9 1/2. So we can actually wear the same shoes. Embarrassing. But anyway.



Take my word for it, there's lace. The yarn was perhaps not the best choice. But she will like them. She thinks sock knitting is the pinnacle of all things yarny. She should see some of the lace shawls I've seen. Anyway, bless her little wee feet, I hope she likes the socks. I'm thinking I'll finish them tomorrow.

The Hederas will likewise be done very soon, hopefully by tomorrow.

I love this yarn so much.

The non-matching stripe is deliberate. I thought about it. She'll like them more if they don't match. I may try to match the jaywalkers.


There's a new yarn store in town, Natural Stitches. I went there today but neglected to bring my camera. I can recommend it, the prices are excellent and they have a fantastic amount of yarn, pattern books, instructional books, supplies, and more.

Yeah, more. They have spinning fiber. I was SO excited to see spinning fiber there.

I may have offered to teach a spinning class. I am not sure. Things were getting a little foggy there when I was checking out.


I only got a pound. Not bad. It's Mauch Chunky roving from Kraemer. 100% wool. 8 oz of each colorway and they sorta coordinate.

I also got some Malabrigo and some sock yarn. And some books. Dammit. Maybe it was the fumes from the wall-0-cascade that made me lose my mind a little in there.

I'm not much of a stash-flasher, but here's the whole haul.

I look forward to seeing how things develop with the store. It has a great deal of potential. It's not as cozy as Knit One, but I will visit both depending on what I need as they carry different things.

Did a trip to Trader Joe's while I was there and it was crowded. I'm to bring a fruit pie to Thanksgiving and wanted to see what TJs had along those lines, but didn't feel like fighting through the upscale urban lifestyle shoppers. Gah.

My therapist said I should find some new friends. Melissa was really my only friend except for Bob, and now that she's gone, I don't really have anyone. I just don't see myself going out and being social, but it would be nice to get out and socialize with some women now and then. I wish I had time to go to the Tuesday knitting group at Knit One. But when I'm not working, I want to be home. I am not sure if that's a normal state of being or a condition of depression. It saddens me that I am 46 years old and have no close friends other than my husband.

Ah well, onward and upward. And at least Bob's a very high-quality friend and spouse. Until next time-